Atlanta’s Buford Highway is the ultimate foodie ethnic eats drag — here you’ll find scores of Mexican and Asian eateries, all of which have something special to offer. To help us narrow down the sheer multitude of places and keep us centered on good food, I enlisted the help of Jennifer Zyman, the Blissful Glutton, Atlanta INtown food columnist and one of Atlanta’s top food bloggers.
Buford Highway on the outskirts of Atlanta is the best place for cheap ethnic eats and shopping. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.
Having decided to pass on some particularly bad catered Bar Mitzvah food on Saturday evening, on Jennifer’s recommendation I hit El Rey Del Taco, a 24-hour Mexican diner specializing in tacos made with freshly made tortillas.
El Rey Del Taco
5288 Buford Highway, Atlanta GA
El Rey Del Taco on Buford Highway, on a rainy, hot August evening.
I just liked this weird shot for some reason.
Hey, Gordo! You Gonna Order Something?
Taco Extreme Closeup
Quesadilla de Chorizo con Papas (Spicy Sausage with Potatoes)
This is the lady that makes the tortillas on the tacos to order.
Torta Milanesa de Pollo (Chicken Cutlet Sandwich). One of the best I’ve ever had, no doubt.
This is a Coctel de Mariscos (Seafood Cocktail) destined for another table.
5221 Buford Highway (Pine Tree Plaza), Atlanta GA
The following morning we met up with Jennifer to do a bit of crawling down Buford and to engage in more Taco consumption. But I wanted to break it up a bit, so we decided to have some Dim Sum first. Just down the street from El Rey Del Taco is Chef Liu, a diminutive Shanghainese restaurant specializing in XiaoLongBao, aka Soup Dumplings.
Chef Liu Restaurant in Pine Tree Plaza on Buford Highway.
The dining room is tight and tiny — but it’s well worth the claustrophobic accommodations for dumplings this good.
Chef Liu Menu.
I love it when they have pictures of the food in the restaurant.
Leek Pie, which we thought was excellent and even better than our favorite one back home.
XiaoLongBao dumplings, which were smallish and not exploding with juice like their New York Chinatown counterparts, but we pronounced them good. They came out piping hot steamy and hit the spot.
Lamb Jiaozi dumplings, which I thought were slightly gamey tasting but they were still very good.
Shanghai Pan Fried Pork Dumpling. Greasy, but good.
Cold Sesame Noodle, Jennifer’s favorite. These are doughier than the ones we have in New York but they were very tasty.
5263 Buford Highway NE, Atlanta GA
Next we headed over to Chicago Supermarket, a massive Mexican grocery store with a full-blown tacqueria attached to the butcher shop. Like El Rey Del Taco just down the road, they also make their own fresh tortillas for the tacos. The difference here is they actually grind the masa from the raw kernels, rather than make tortillas from pre-ground masa.
Corn kernels in the hopper, ready for grinding.
All kinds of pre-prepared Mexican foods such as roasted meats and deep fried items are ready for take-out.
Unlike all the other Coke sold in Atlanta, this stuff really is the Real Thing.
Now that’s what I call a pile of Chicharrones (fried pork skins)
Carne De Res tacos. Fresh and delicious.
Carne De Res Taco with Chile De Arbol hot sauce. Holy Frijoles was that freaking spicy!
Gordita, a deep fried hockey puck of Masa Harina filled with cheese.
5094 Buford Highway, Doraville GA
Completing our Buford Highway taco crawl was another Blissful Glutton fave, El Pastor. This restaurant specializes in Tacos Al Pastor, sort of a Mexican version of Shwarma or Gyro. It’s my understanding that this method of cooking meat was actually an import from the Middle East into Mexico, and the Mexicans adapted it and made it their own.
El Pastor on Buford Highway in Doraville.
El Pastor interior
The meat spit at El Pastor.
El Pastor serves the most massive glasses of Coke I’ve ever seen.
Tacos Al Pastor, with spit-roasted sliced pork and grilled pineapple.
Tacos Al Pastor closeup.